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Rate regulation bill stalls in Senate

August 31, 2011

Backers of a bill to give the state the power to approve or reject health insurance premium increases shelved the measure for the year Wednesday, saying they lacked the votes in the Senate to send it to Gov. Jerry Brown.

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Alameda Probation Chief sees opportunity in prison reform

August 30, 2011

When David Muhammad became the Chief Probation Officer for Alameda County six months ago, he had big ideas about how to change the system for the better.

“Departments around the country have been good at messing with people and not so good at helping people,” Muhammad said. That’s something he wants to change in Alameda County, especially when it comes to getting low-level offenders integrated into the community after they are released, instead of seeing them land back in prison.

Muhammad got his opportunity to oversee a big shift in corrections almost as soon as he arrived in Alameda County. His appointment as Chief Probation Officer coincided neatly with what many are calling California’s largest prison reform in decades. The change transfers responsibility for low-level offenders to the county, with probation departments playing a key role in the transition as well as the ongoing management of non-violent offenders.

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Public transit gets creative to keep seniors mobile

August 30, 2011

With its operations budget reduced by millions of dollars, Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) is being forced to make cuts. More than a dozen bus routes are slated for frequency reductions and one will be eliminated. The proposed changes will start later this year, leaving public transit riders with less options and more waiting.

Senior Monterey County residents, who ride for half price, will be among those affected by pending transit route cuts.

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Youth offenders serving life sentences could make parole under new bill

August 25, 2011

Legislation pending in California would give prison inmates sentences to life without possibility of parole for crimes they committed while a minor a chance at resentencing and parole. Supporters say inmates who committed crimes as minors should eventually have a chance to redeem themselves. Opponents say the measure would be an unfair burden on crime victims.

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Memos show staff questioned rationale for pesticide approval

August 25, 2011

Environmentalists fighting to roll back the approval of a controversial pesticide released documents Thursday that they said show regulators put politics before science when they approved methyl iodide for use in California agriculture last December.

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Healthcare reform may help homeless get comprehensive care

August 25, 2011

Healthcare reform may help homeless get comprehensive care

California’s unprecedented Medicaid expansion in advance of national health care reform is a crucial opportunity to improve care for the homeless, advocates say.

The $10 billion program, called California’s Bridge to Reform, includes increases in health care subsidies for the indigent, including the state’s estimated 134,000 homeless.

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Clinic helps chronic ER visitors get healthy

August 23, 2011

Clinic helps chronic ER visitors get healthy

A Sacramento hospital and a community clinic have teamed up in a successful program to help the chronically ill homeless get healthy and housed while reducing the number of visits to local emergency rooms. T3, which stands for triage, transport and treatment redirects Sutter ER patients who don’t require urgent care to one of the Effort’s clinics or community services that can better treat them.

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Merced seeks to improve public transit options for seniors

August 23, 2011

Merced seeks to improve public transit options for seniors

California’s population is getting older, and advocates say seniors will be unable to easily remain mobile, active and independent if policymakers don’t make public transportation a priority.

In the Central Valley town of Merced, seniors are already feeling the pinch of too few options.

“I have a car but gas prices are too high. I use the bus, my walker and this,” said Gloria Gonzales, 61, clutching her motorized wheelchair which she maneuvers through traffic every day to make it to the free lunch program at Merced Cherish Senior Center.



This article is one in an occasional series on aging with dignity, independent living and public policy that affects both. For a complete archive of the articles, click here.

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Prenatal exposure to smoke linked to severe asthma symptoms

August 22, 2011

Children with severe asthma are far more likely to have been exposed to tobacco smoke before birth than children with a mild form of the disease, according to a new study led by researchers at UC San Francisco.

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California’s children increasingly safer over the last decade

August 18, 2011

State policy and independent activism have combined to produce a little known good news story for California: serious injuries to children have declined dramatically over the past decade.

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